This Allah issue in Malaysia is getting ridiculous and dangerous – the latest developments include the firebombings of churches in Taiping.
Ironically Taiping, where Unspun grew up in the state of Perak in Malaysia, is means “Great Peace” in Chinee. It was given the name after a bloody civil war between rival Hokkien and Cantonese migrants in the tin trade. For many years since Taiping has enjoyed the serenity of its namesake and the biggest action in town when Unspun was growing up was when they installed traffic lights in the road junctions.
The firebombings last week has destroyed whatever Great Peace Taiping seems to have had. Perhaps it is a sign of the times.
In this entire hoo ha one question that needs to e asked is what is the role of the Malaysian Government playing in all this? If you will recall, it was the Malaysian Government that triggered the issue in the first place when the Home Minister forbade the Catholic Church to use the word Allah in its newsletter Herald.
When the Church successfully challenged the order in the Malaysian High Court, the Malaysian Government said it would appeal, and it did on the grounds that if the Catholics were allowed to use the word Allah there MIGHT be racial conflict.
The problem with prophecies is that they tend to be self-fulfilling. So did the Malaysian Government inadvertently suggest the idea of racial conflict or was it cynically prescient in predicting the future?
This is a question worth thinking about. But while pondering about this, what to do about the genie that is being let out of the bottle with the firebombings of the churches in KL and Taiping?
Here Malaysians should Look South and learn from the Indonesians about religious harmony. When there were riots in 1997 the more responsible Muslim groups not only did not partake in the destruction of churches and calling for calm, they actively form brigades to guard against the violent attacks of their fellow muslims against churches. How cool is that?
And for those, like the Malaysian Government, who advance the idiotic argument that the use of the word Allah by other religious groups would encourage Muslims to change their religions, they should also Look South to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world where over 90 percent of its residents have been and remain Muslims.
Here churches use Allah freely in their sermons and in the Bibles they use, Muslims do not whip themselves into a fervor if Muslims decide to change religions, and Allah is just another word for God, whether they are of Christian, Muslim or other persuasions. And the result? No widespread defection of Muslims to other religions. Go figure!